Staal scores twice, Hurricanes defeat Predators in Game 1

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Jordan Staal scored two goals for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5-2 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup First Round at PNC Arena on Monday.

Nino Niederreiter put Carolina ahead 3-2 at 2:26 of the third period. After Juuse Saros made a sprawling save on Hurricanes forward Vincent Trocheck in the slot, Martin Necas gathered a loose puck behind the net and passed to Niederreiter for a one-timer in the slot.

Staal scored his second of the game to make it 4-2 at 8:00.

Andrei Svechnikov scored into an empty net with 1:47 remaining for the 5-2 final.

Rookie Alex Nedeljkovic made 22 saves in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut, and Brett Pesce had two assists for the Hurricanes, who are the No. 1 seed in the Discover Central Division.

Filip Forsberg and Erik Haula scored for the Predators, the No. 4 seed. Saros made 33 saves.

Forsberg cut to the net through the left face-off circle and scored off a pass by Ryan Johansen from the end boards to give Nashville a 1-0 lead at 12:14 of the first period.

Teuvo Teravainen tied the game 1-1 at 13:41 with a one-handed redirection of Pesce’s one-timer from the point.

Staal scored at 4:19 of the second period to give Carolina a 2-1 lead. After Staal won a face-off to Pesce, the Hurricanes captain took a return pass and split Predators defensemen Mattias Ekholm and Roman Josi before scoring top shelf near the goal line.

Haula tied it 2-2 at 8:41 when he took a pass from Matt Duchene and scored when his shot went off defenseman Jani Hakanpaa.

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series will be played here Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; CNBC, FX-CA, TVAS, BSSO).

Teams that win Game 1 are 490-222 (68.8 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including 7-1 in the first round last season.

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